Saturday, July 13, 2013

Days 3 and 4

June 24th and 25th 

In the morning, we got on the buses with the Americans who were there for Camp LIFE to take a tour of the city of Lusaka.  We went to the Garden compound first.  There are many compounds around the city, and each one has a name.  These are like "neighborhood" area slums.  The children who are sponsored by Family Legacy once lived in these compounds.  

I found out that my sponsored child, Queen, lives in the Garden compound where we toured.  The conditions in the compound were pretty rough.  We had 2 Zambians with us, and we stayed inside the bus, so we were fine safety-wise.  Everywhere you look there is trash and kids running around in tattered clothes and barefoot, not in school.  Houses and structures were made of wood or thatch with plastic covering it.  There were some houses made of concrete, but they were falling apart, had no doors, etc. I did not take many pictures out of respect, so it is hard to get the full picture of what it was like.   

This is actually a hair salon! :)  
We arrived at the Garden Lifeway Christian Academy where we got out.  This LCA is one of the newer schools, and it is not yet finished.  It is right in the middle of the compound, and the building used to be a bar.  There were bars on the windows and door, and there was a guard who let us in.  Kids were surrounding the building, wanting to go in.  
Taylor, full-time staff in Zambia, leading our tour

outside of the Garden Lifeway Christian Academy 

You can tell that this building used to be a bar! :)  

We went inside to a couple of classrooms.  They have made an effort to transform the building into a school, but they have a long ways to go.  Family Legacy is truly wanting to transform education for these children, but it can be overwhelming.

They do a couple of things in all of Family Legacy's schools that I LOVE!  They have a "One Way" creed they recite that says the verse John 14:6:  "Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life.  No one comes to my Father except through me.  Therefore, I will obey Christ.  I will help others.  I will work hard.  I will speak the truth."  Also, if you walk into a room, they will all stand and say, "Good morning, Teacher!"  You answer, "Good morning!  How are you?".  Then they will say, "We are blessed by the grace of God, and how are you?"  It warms my heart!!

When we left the compound, we toured the city.  Most parts were very dirty, and there are people walking around everywhere.  There is a definite divide between the "haves" and "have-nots".  People line the street trying to sell things.  They even walk between the lanes of cars through traffic and try to sell everything from "talk time" on your phone to Monopoly!  Anything you can think of!

A cool part of the tour was getting to drive by the US Embassy and also the President of Zambia's house.  We knew the President was in because the 2 guards were out front of the gates. Other than that, though, you would just drive by and not really realize you were in an important area.  

After touring the city, we went to meet our teachers at the Tree of Life school, Faith Christian Academy.

I met Teacher Mwangala, who teaches Grade 4, and Teacher Dennis, who teaches Grade 5.  I could tell right away that Teacher Mwangala was a natural teacher.  I observed her teach science, though, and it took almost an hour to go through a few sentences they had copied from the board about fresh and expired air.  After 45 minutes, most kids still could not distinguish between the two.  Most also could not read what they had copied from the board.  A funny story - One kid raised his hand to answer a question.  He stood up to answer (which is common there and shows respect), and he said "flesh hair".  The teacher said "flesh HAIR?"  He tried at least 5 times, but he could not get out "fresh air".  Most Zambians have a very hard time saying the "r" and "l" sounds. They mix them up! :)  
some Grade 4 students
My experience in Grade 5 was a little different.  I could tell immediately that Teacher Dennis did not have as much structure and control in his classroom.  I observed him for an hour and a half, and he only got through one lesson on Zambian culture.  The kids never moved around, discussed with each other, interacted, etc.  He talked, and they "listened" and raised their hands for questions.  These kids seemed to be a little better at reading, but it was also still a weak area.  He was also very hard for me to understand with his accent.  

It was great to see what the classrooms were like, but it was hard to just sit back and observe.  I have a passion for teaching, and when I am in front of a class of kiddos, I want to be up there doing it! :)  

On Tuesday, we spend all day at the school.  Our driver, John, picked us up at 6:45am.  John was so nice and the best driver!!  School starts at 7:30 with a school-wide assembly.  Grades Baby Class - 5 come for half a day, then the afternoon group comes.  Grades 6 and 7 stay a full day.  

At the end of the assembly, Teacher Sandra (the head teacher) started singing a song about marching in the light of God.  All the children sang along and marched their way out the door to their classes.  Teacher Sandra has a beautiful voice, and the children's singing was precious!!  I would LOVE to be able to start my morning this way back in the states.

I taught a reading/phonics lesson in Grade 5 in the morning.  I quickly realized that the kids could speak pretty good English, but they had a hard time reading and writing, especially the ones who were sponsored recently.  Many of them have never been in school.  We started back with the basics - letter names and sounds.  Teacher Dennis was very nice, but he has a few areas to work on like structure and engagement.  Most of classtime was spent sitting, listening, copying, and one student at a time answering questions orally.  I couldn't wait to try some new things.
kids at break
In the afternoon, I went to Grade 4 to teach the reading/phonics lesson.  Teacher Mwangala was already trying to implement new things today.  They were small things she caught onto that I did, but they can make a big impact.  During break, she opened up to me about a student she had last year.  She said she could not get him to pay attention, and she wondered why he wasn't listening.  After talking to him, she understood.  She said he had just left home to come to Tree of Life.  At home, he lived with his mother who was blind.  He had to go out and beg for her.  He was worried that now there was no one there to care for her.  He asked Teacher Mwangala to pray for his mom and that she would be healed so that she didn't have to beg.  I teared up as she told the story, and I told her how great it was that she has a heart for these kids.  

That moment brought a revelation to me.  Kids are kids, no matter where they are!  You cannot fully reach a child until you know his or her story!!  In my classroom, I want to have relationships with my students.  Education is truly about the whole child, not just academics.   

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